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Headphones & Hearing Loss: What You Need To Know

With a rise in headphone technology and accessibility, comes a potential rise in hearing loss related issues. In this quick-read blog post, we guide you through what you need to know, and offer you the chance to check your hearing.

Headphones Can Be An Origin Of Hearing Loss

It is a common belief that hearing can only be damaged by noise if a person experiences sudden, abrupt and tremendously loud sounds such as a shotgun or an explosion or if they are practicing a potentially risky job, for example, a construction worker or ground airport staff. However, even normal daily activities, such as listening to your iPod or MP3 player can, with time, cause problems.

How Headphones Can Cause Hearing Loss

Constant exposure to loud sounds can be very harmful to the delicate system of the ear and inflict permanent damage on hearing abilities. In fact, noise-induced hearing loss is very common in recent times and many people are not fully aware of its consequences and the possible ways to prevent it. Noise-induced hearing loss damages the tiny and delicate inner and outer hair cells, located within the cochlea of the inner ear, which plays an enormously important role in the perception and transmission of sound. Unfortunately, once these cells begin to diminish or are completely destroyed, the ear is not able to regenerate or grow new ones to actively replace those already damaged. This makes noise-induced hearing loss a permanent condition, which cannot be cured or treated with medications.

How To Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

The good news is that if you follow certain practices, you can decrease the risk of hearing impairment due to noise exposure to a minimum. Firstly, it is important to remember that the sound level at which the ear begins to suffer strong negative effects is above 85 decibels. People usually believe that they are not exposed to such loud noises during their daily activities, but a modern MP3 player, for example, offers sound amplification of up to 120 decibels. It is also very common to listen to music through headphones while outside or traveling by train, which makes people increase the volume even more due to the naturally noisy surroundings. In fact, you may not even suspect that you are constantly damaging your hearing until you begin to experience hearing loss signs such as ringing in the ears, difficulties understanding speech, especially when in noisy environments, etc.

Children and teenagers should be specifically careful about the noise levels they have to endure, as some spend many hours a day watching video clips or listening to music with the help of headphones. A few simple rules of thumb should help reduce the chances of noise-induced hearing loss. The 60/60 rule of listening to music at no louder than 60% of maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day is a great piece of advice. If your music volume is too loud for you to be aware of your environment this usually indicates the volume is likely to be harmful. It is also advisable to try to use over the head style headphones as these often cause less harm than their in the ear counterparts.

Check Your Hearing For Free

You can take our online hearing test to check for any potential signs of hearing loss. Results will indicate if you need to take further action to prevent further damage to your hearing health. We recommend that you consult an audiologist who will be able to properly test and diagnose your impairment.
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